IN A swift action the Kumasi Police have arrested the driver of an articulated truck which drove into a Mercedes Benz 207 bus on Saturday, killing 17 worshipers of the Santase branch of Deeper Life Bible Church.
The 27-year-old driver identified as Robert Aguaa, sustained injuries in the accident. He was apprehended on Sunday, at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, upon a tip-off, where he was seeking medical attention.
Speaking in an exclusive interview at his office, yesterday, Chief Superintendent Augustine Gyenin, Ashanti Regional Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU), Police Commander disclosed that Aguaa was the one driving the vehicle at the time of the accident, and not a driver's apprentice (mate), as had, earlier on, been reported.
But he revealed that Aguaa was not licenced to drive the truck.
Aquaa, he said, is an amateur driver, holding a Licence BI, a class which cannot be used. While accusing the management of Jesus Is Ever Green Enterprise Limited, a company which employed Aguaa, he noted that a driver should be employed to drive an articulated truck, when he or she possesses an F Driver's Licence Class.
Revealing the circumstances which led to the last-minute arrest of the driver, Chief Superintendent Gyenin hinted that Aguaa was apprehended, last Sunday, at the Kwame Nkurmah University of Science and Technology Hospital, in Kumasi, where he had been admitted to seek medical attention, following a tip off.
He pointed out that he has directed a testing officer of his unit to test the vehicles involved in the accident, to determine the extent of damage, and their general conditions, at the time of the calamity.
Besides this, the Ashanti MTTU Police Commander stated that doctors at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), where the remains of the accident victims have been deposited, will perform post-mortem examinations on the bodies, to determine the cause of their deaths.
After that, a duplicate docket, in connection with the case, will be prepared and forwarded to the Attorney- General's Department for advice on appropriate charges to be preferred against the driver, Robert Aguaa, after satisfactory investigations have been conducted into the case.
He could not readily tell the exact cause of the disaster, as, according to him, the suspect driver was yet to be interrogated, to tell his side of the story, whether to drive even a taxi cab in any part of the country.
Augustine Gyenin explained that a BI driver's licence is used to drive Saloon car, only.
He debunked rumours that circulated last Saturday, when the accident occurred, that the articulated truck was being driven by the mate, resulting in the accident.
According to him, police investigations into the case, so far, have uncovered that the truck was driven by the driver in-charge of the vehicle, at the time of the accident, while two other people, including another driver of the company named Nana Poku, and the mate, Kwadwo Ayineh, who rushed Aguaa to the hospital, were on board.
When Daily Guide visited the premises of the church, yesterday, to observe how the church was coping with the situation, the church premises was generally calm, with a few of its members, as well as certain bereaved family members of the victims, holding discussions with the leadership of the church.
The accident, which shocked the Kumasi metropolis, took centre stage in radio discussions, yesterday occurred at about 5 O'clock pm, when the articulator truck, with registration number, AS 7103V, ran into the Mercedes-Benz bus with registration number AS 479P.
Reports have it that the church members had travelled to Asenmanso to mourn the death of their colleague member, and were just about to reach home, when the unsuspected occurred.
Among those who died on the spot were the driver of the Benz bus, identified as Raggerman, Rosemary Afrifa, 38, Mrs Sarah Apraku, and her 18-month-sold baby girl, identified as Paulina Apraku, Hagar Awuah, 36, Dora Owusu, 38, and Madam Vivian, 52.
The rest included Pastor Elijah Amposah, 40, Sister Ataa 23, (bread seller), Brother Sylvester, Ama Nyarko, 29, Jemima Nsiah, 35, Margaret Bempong, 49 and Madam Cecilia Adu, 55.
Rescuers managed to save six of the victims, including Brother Peter, Sister Charlotte, Brother Yaw, Akua Afrifa, and Kate Yara, who were rushed to the KATH, where they are responding to treatment at its Intensive care unit.